here in japan, it's 7:00 p.m. on a friday. i'm james tengan in tokyo. welcome to nhk "newsline." japan's prime minister spent much of friday in the diet denying allegations. shinzo abe tried to refute claims that he and his wife were connected to a political scandal that's been come night headlines. nhk world has the details.
>> reporter: shinzo abe stood before the diet to defend himself and his wife. >> translator: regarding the issue off 1 million yen, it is regrettable that he gave testimony which can't be proven and is not true. >> reporter: abe was trying to refute sworn testimony from yasunori kagoike, the president of the educational group moritomo gakuen. he told lawmakers he received a donation of about $9,000 from abe's wife open his behalf in 2015. concerning a purchase of state-owned land to build a school. the group got the land for a fraction of it estimated value the deal has been questioned by lawmakers. abe denies any wrongdoing. >> translator: the issue originated with the problem
relating to the state land sale and licensing of the school. regarding those issues, i believe it was made clear that no specific politician was involved. >> reporter: while the prime minister issued denials, his wife is still in the spotlight for her connections to moritomo. she was listed as the honorary principal for the new school being built on the controversial land. she stepped down from the post when the scandal broke in an apparent effort to distance herself from the group. but on thursday, kagoike pulled her back into the scandal because of the facts. it was from a government aid who worked for them. the opposition says he requested professional government treatment over the land that moritomo was leasing. >> reporter: the facts says that the matter was reported to mrs. abe. i was very thankful for her time
and effort. >> reporter: akie abe posted this response to her facebook page. >> i remember that one secretary of mine had told me she was going to respond to his inquiry. as far as i recall, it was to tell him that his request could not be met. as for the contents, i had nothing to do with them. >> reporter: in the diet, her husband also shoved back at allegations. >> translator: this was an inquiry about a procedure concerning rules and laws. this was not a request for involvement or inappropriate pressure. >> reporter: but that state land mentioned in the facted ended up being bought by moritomo for less than 20% of its appraised value. and kagoike says he thinks something helped the deal move ahead. but he doesn't know what. meanwhile, japan's opposition party wants akie abe to testify at the diet.
nhk worm, tokyo. candidates for hong kong's top political job are going into a home stretch on sunday. the results could determine the course of a city becoming more polarized over china's growing influence. >> three candidates are vying for the post. who is leading? >> the chief executive is elected by a committee of just 1200 voters. carrie lam may have half of the votes the bag. she entered the race with the nomination of 580 committee members. the former government number two reportedly has the backing of beijing and business leaders with strong ties through the mainland. she is being nicknamed the iron lady. in pro democracy protests in
2014, she stood firm against student leaders. she has shown confidence and optimism. >> translator: i'll make uniting our society my top priority and build better relations between the government and the legislature. >> but lam is not in the clear yet. one of her opponents is trying to pull off a major upset. he's the former financial secretary. >> translator: i am the one who can bridge the division in our society. >> tsang is sympathetic to the student protesters. local media says city and china leaders told him not to run. opinion polls show john comfortably ahead of lam and the third candidate retired judge, but election committee members, not ordinary people, pick the chief executive.
pro-china delegates dominate the committee. many residents see the battle as a test of beijing's grip over hong kong. >> beijing must be watching the election closely. do you hear any reaction from them? >> china's leaders have been cautious not to publicly meddle but they've warned against anyone who challenges its sovereignty. >> translator: we will ensure that the principle of one country, two systems is steadfastly applied in hong kong without being bent or distorted. the notion of hong kong independence will lead nowhere. >> some delegates say beijing has made its preference clear. china's third-highest ranking official again said beijing holds the right to appoint the chief executive, suggesting it may reject a candidate it doesn't like. with the stakes so high, people
are again taking to the streets. pro democracy activists burst in to carrie lam's campaign trail, calling her beijing's puppet. the backlash reflects main stream opinion since protest erupted three years ago. people in hong kong are now much more sensitive about beijing's intervention. >> translator: i might not be able to fend off the negative effect on my campaign. >> a local survey shows her local support rate plummeting. nearly half the respondents say they oppose her. john tsang has gained ground with a a strereet-level campaig. he's hoping public support might change the tide within the election committee. >> translator: it really maddens
me to see beijing interfering in hong kong's election. >> translator: carrie lam doesn't listen to people's voices. she's not chosen by our one person, one vote principle. >> pro democracy members hold more than a quarter of the seats in the committee. they see tsang as their former foe. but have set aside their differences just days ahead of the voting. >> translator: our pro democracy friends have agreed not to cast a single ballot for carrie lam. >> in the past, the most popular candidates won. even pro china delegates are concerned that lam will struggle to run the government. suchch low support from the public. >> so under carrie lam, things may get better in hong kong, but
it will continue to be divisive. and it will give the democratic camp a lot of ammunition to keep protesting and fighting for the next five years. >> it looks as both hong kong and china are heading for more strife. does anyone see a way out? >> it all depends on how the election turns out. many here are bracing for further confrontation. beijing wants hong kong's new leader to run a stable government. especially now, stability is their top priority. china has entered a politically sensitive period ahead of a major power shuffle within the communist leadership later this year. there is talk that president xi jinping will make his first visit to hong kong in july on the 20th anniversary of its
happenedover from britain. china wants to show the world that one country, two systems is working very well. mass protests against xi would challenge that claim and damage his authority. once the election is over, beijing could come up with a range of measures to ease public anger and frustration. until then, hong kong is anxiously awaiting for the results. the u.s. president has chosen aew ambasdor to japan. william hartrty wain chargof personl l affas onon dald trump's trsisitioneam.m. he sererve as a aemember oththe white e use staff during g geoe h.w.bush'sadnistrati, dealalin withhrade picicies. anduriringhe 2012 esidenal ection, he joinethe campf republican candidate mitt romney. japan's chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga says he has high hopes for trump's pick.
>> translator: i understand that the new ambassador is deeply trusted by president trump. he also has experience living in japan. the japanese government welcomes this appointment. i look forward to his official arrival in japan and working to enhance the japan/u.s. alliance. >> it won't be hagerty's first time in japan. he lived in tokyo for about three years working for a private consulting firm. now turning to business, tokyo stocks had a rough week but managed to post gains on the last trading day. gene otani has the details on that and other headlines. >> investors were cautious in early trading in tokyo as the u.s. congress postponed a vote on a key health care bill. but market sentiment improved on reports lawmakers were making progress on the legislation. the benchmark nikkei average ended the day in the positive. our business reporter has more from the tokyo stock exchange. >> earlier this week, the nikkei
saw its biggest drop since the u.s. election, but it recovered some of those losses on friday following reports u.s. lawmakers could be voting on the obamacare replacement bill soon. some investors also picked up bargains following recent declines, and that supported prices. let's take a look at the closing levels this friday, march 24th. the nikkei 225 gained 0.9%, closing at 19,262. the broader topix rose 0.8%. despite the gains, the nikkei saw its worst weekly performance in seven weeks, posting a loss of 1.3%. looking at some highlights, mitsubishi ufj and sumitomo both rose by more than 1%. toshiba was also up by 7.5%. that's on reports a singapore-based investment firm has become its largest shareholder. investors are keeping a close eye on the outcome of the vote on the u.s. health care bill.
investors may see it as an indicator of the fate of president trump's other company pledges, such as tax reform and spending plans. i'm giang nguyen reporting from the tokyo stock exchange. moving on to other benchmarks in the asia pacific region. the overall picture was mixed. sydney rose 0.8%. the shanghai kcomposite rose fo the second day in a row to finish at 3269 to close at the highest in nearly four months. construction related shares were in demand on hopes the government will speed up its silk road initiative linking asia with europe. seoul's cospi index slipping by 0.2%, 2168 the closing number. shares of samsung group fell after shareholders expressed concern about an executive's involvement in a corruption scandal. electronics firm hitachi
announced the group subsidiary in the nuclear fuel business will post a loss of about $590 million for the fiscal year ending in march. hitachi and ge jointly created the firm to develop new technologies for uranium enrichment for nuclear power plants. officials say after reviewing the value of the business, they were unable to forecast growth in the future. hitachi will post losses for the 2016 year. hitachi entered the business in 2007, expecting an increase in the construction of new nuclear plants. but the accident at fukushima daiichi nuclear plant in 2011 has seen the nuclear power industry fall into a slump. hitachi officials say they're now discussing withdrawing from the business. toshiba officials have been saying they plan to spin off their flash memory chip business to fund a turn around of the struggling electronics maker. now japan's industry minister says government officials would have to check the alal if foreign firms try to buy the business.
>> translator: toshiba's flesh memory business is highlhly competitive internationally and it's extremely important from the viewpoint of domestic jobs. information security is expected to make it even more important. >> seiko said if authorities are informed in line with the law of the possible purchase of stocks by foreign firms the government would carefully examine them. he said this would be done from standpoint of national security. the governor of the bank of japan says the institution will continue its current monetary easing policy to end deflation. kuroda wasas giving aa speech i tokyo. he said improvement in manufacturing activity and international trade has become clear since the middle of last yearar, both advanced a and emeg economies. he said the globalal economy hi bottom i thehe first half of 2016. kuroda denied speculalation tha the boj might raise its target level on long-term interest
rates. >> translator: there's no need for us to raise intererest rate now. we shoululd maintain the curren yield curve to takake advantagef the improvement in the global economy. to achieve our price stability target of 2% at the earliest time. household paper manufacturers in japan are set to raise prices on their products due to increased costs. they will raise shipping prices of its products mainly used in households by more than 10% starting in may. the products include tissue papers, toilet roll, and kitchen towels. the company says the hike is necessary as transportation costs are soaring because of a shortage of truck drivers. it also says a weaker yen has pushed up the price of imported pulp and fuel. the price increase is the first in about 1 1/2 years. the company says the cost of a five-box pack of tissue paper will go up by about 20 to 30
cents. japan's largest paper firm will also raise prices of its home use products by more than 10% from may. trade officials in the u.s. are looking to impose a punitive tariff on a coolant from china. they say the product is being sold at a price that hurts the domestic industry. the u.s. international trade commission has determined that the substance imported from china is being sold in the u.s. at less than fair value. the chemical is mainly used as a refrigerant for air conditioners in cars. the commission's finding allows an anti-dumping duty of up to 167%. this is the no the first time u.s. authorities have targeted a chinese product. they've already slapped punitive duties on stainless steel sheets and heat resistant fabric. the latesest dececision reflecte stance of the administration of donald trump. u.s. officials aren't happy the biggest trade deficit is withh
china. officials in the two countries are currently trying to pin down a date for their first summit since trump took office. their focus has shifted to possible discussions on leveling the trade imbalance. when you want to buy a slice of cake, you go to a cake shop. when you want a bowl of ramen, well, in japan, sometimes you still go to a cake shop. at this store, things aren't always what they appear to be. >> reporter: noodles and miso soup aren't usually sold next to cakes. but these are all desserts. they're named the look alike series. hiro michino is the fourth-generation president of a confectioner that's been in business 120 years. he began making the look-alikes five years ago to amuse his customers. this ramen look-alike is most
popular, with 250 selling per month. the noodles are made of chestnut cream. the soup is tea-flavored jelly. >> translator: i wanted to surprise people. well, i wanted to have fun while making people laugh. >> translator: i haven't tried any yet, but i'm curious about the miso soup. i think i'll buy one. >> reporter: this mom could hardly wait to see her daughter's reaction to her after-school snack. >> translator: wow, cool, looks like miso soup. mmmm, yummy. is this almond jelly? >> reporter: that's right, the soup is made from almond jelly and caramel mousse. >> translator: it's good. next time i'll buy for the whole
family. >> reporter: his latest look-alike is a takeoff on fried pork cutlets in sauce over rice. to make it, he used ingredients found in traditional japanese sweets. the cutlets are fried race cakes soaked in black sugar syrup to mimic the sauce. he replaced steam rice with puffed rice. they taste just like an old time japanese snack. >> translator: here's the final product. >> translator: it's good. but the rice cakes are a little hard to eat. >> reporter: ino worked late into the night tweaking the recipe. >> translator: ah, see, what does it look like? it looks so real. just like pork cutlets. >> translator: people smile when
they're surprised, and their smiles keep me going. i want to create more look-alikes to make my customers happy. >> reporter: ino has already come up with six, including sweet takes on ghizu dumplings and draft beer. you can catch our report again online together with a full transcript. just look for nhk world and business wrap. that's a look at business news. i'm going to leave you with the markets.
japan's meteorological agency has issued an eruption warning for an underwater volcano near a small reef 400 kilometers off the coast of tokyo. waters around the bayonnaise rockchchange colors. the volcano has had a series of eruptions, including one that wa deadly in52, killing all 31 people on board a survey ship. the last eruption was in 1988. no unusual ifphenomena have bee observed until now. nhk "newsline" comes to you live from tokyo, which is seeing a spike in tourists here for the cherry blossoms. fair weather prevailed today and tomorrow with precipitation on susunday. for details, here's sayakaa mor.
>> well,l, it's going to be sun tomorrow. asas we go into sunday, it wilbe chilly wet. we may see heavy rain and thunderstorms. weather will come back on sunday. snow is falling across the northwestern side of japan, over the last 25 hours, nearly 25 centimeters have fallen into saturday. things are going to be improving. temperatures will be warming up. in places like sapporo. tokyo posting 13 on saturday, down to 10 on sunday. it's going to be more like late february and cherry blossoms will start to come up soon and it's going to ben ththe d teens as we go into the next three days. rain is fallg heheavily acacros the southeastern corner r of china. that should taper off in many places as we go into saturday. from saturdaday into next week may see e some thunderstor. heavy at times across the north
of thailand. watch out for heavy rainfall as well as thunderstorms. now, temperatures will be as follows, 35 in bangkok with a chance for day time thundershowers. chongqing 12 degrees and w warm than normal in beijing with a high of 14 degrees on saturday. now, let's go to e europe. spring began on monday, but still people are shrivelining under cold weather. let's go to video out of spain. momore than 5 centimeters ofof has fafaen in someme places in e countrtry. especially in mountainous locations, even in madrid the morning low dipped to minus 1 degrees celsius on thursday morning. it was the first sign since january 26th when the temperature dips below freezing in the area. advisories for snowfall and low temperatures are still in place, especially in the north of the country and additional 10 centimeters of snow and up to 15 millimeters of rainfall are expected into saturday.
now, these variety of weather is caused by a cutoff low pressure system, that is actually cut off from the jet stream. this system will likely stay here for a while. so more wet weather is coming up, at least into next week. temperatures will be warming up, madrid, 11 for the high own friday, up to 16 degrees. things are going back to normal asas we go into sunday. many places of the iberian peninsula as well as parts of morocco. temperatures for the rest of europe are as follows. 14 in vienna. still on the warmer side across the east. 7 for the high in moscow. 12 for the high in kiev. finally over north america, there are various kind of weather happening over the midportions of the united states. we have blizzard warnings in place for colorado as well as new mexico. and there's a chance for freezi freezing rainfall across the
great lakes region and along this cold front there's a chance for severe thunderstorms, damaging winds, and large hail, especially over the lower mississippi river basin on your friday. back behind it, it's pretty gugusty and hot. conditions are quite favorable for wildfires. out towards the west, more wet weather is coming up across the western united states and vancouver as well. that's it for me now. here's your extended forecast.